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Just Stop Oil disrupt traffic at Bricklayers Arms roundabout in south London

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 06/12/2022 Miriam Burrell
IMAGE_JustStopOil_London2_06122022.png © Just Stop Oil IMAGE_JustStopOil_London2_06122022.png

Metropolitan Police officers followed 15 Just Stop Oil protesters as they chanted and held banners while disrupting traffic at a major roundabout in south London on Tuesday.

The group of climate activists wearing high-vis vests slowly marched through Bricklayers Arms roundabout near Elephant and Castle at 8am, demanding the government halt all new oil and gas licences. Traffic has been delayed on Old Kent Road.

The march continued through south London, followed by at least three police vehicles and about 10 police officers.

Sam Griffiths, 47, a designer from London said: “I feel sick seeing how little is happening to address climate breakdown, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. And our Government is actively making things worse. Granting over 100 new oil licences is indefensible.”

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The latest series of demonstrations from Just Stop Oil have involved supporters slowly walking down roads to disrupt traffic, instead of sitting down and gluing their hands to the tarmac.

The “less assertive” approach comes as a number of senior leaders in the group remain in police custody, according to Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.

On Saturday protesters occupied beds and sofas in luxury department store Harrods to demand that the government end British reliance on “expensive, dangerous and dirty fossil fuels”.

Six weeks of disruption by supporters of Just Stop Oil during October and November has led to more than 700 arrests, the group said.

This week court hearings continue for supporters involved in causing major traffic chaos on the M25 last month after climbing several gantries.

A total of 17 protesters, including nine currently on remand, are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, Just Stop Oil said.

Just Stop Oil protests have caused significant disruption in recent months, frustrating members of the public and prompting tough talk from politicians, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman dubbing them the demonstrators extremists.

Last week top Met Police commissioners met with Downing St and Police Minister Chris Philip visited the Met’s Special Ops room where he was briefed on police tactics.

“I will keep working with the police to ensure that these protests are dealt with very quickly,” Mr Philip said.

Since October 2, there have been 46 days of action from Just Stop Oil which has taken over 12,500 dedicated officer shifts to police, equating to more than £5.5 million, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said.

A total of 755 people have been arrested, and 182 have been charged for a range of offences from obstruction of the highway to conspiracy to intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance.

“We are determined to work with the CPS to charge everyone who has brought misery to the public through their unlawful actions,” said Assistant Commissioner Twist.

“We know it has been frustrating for Londoners this week seeing them walking slowly in the roads in central London, but as they have been small in number, and keep moving with traffic being able to move around them or easily divert, we are less likely to be able to arrest and prosecute them for unlawful obstruction.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said of Tuesday’s action: “There was some disruption to traffic in the area around Old Kent Road this morning due to protesters walking slowly in the road.

“The disruption was intermittent, with the group alternating between walking eastbound and westbound and coming off the road entirely.

“We are alert to these new JSO tactics. Officers will intervene where serious disruption is being caused.”

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